Advance Blog

June 5, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 5 June 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports a newly confirmed case, a total of 3,102 cases. Out of the total number, 2,971 have been discharged from hospital; 73 are being hospitalized. The death toll is at 58. The newly confirmed cases is a Thais from Kuwait and has been in state quarantine. It is the 11th straight day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
    • The CCSA is eyeing to ease its restrictions on schools and educational institutes, nurseries and homes for the elderly, national parks, concert and exhibition halls, not over 20,000 square metres, conference halls which can accommodate more than 200 people, scientific centres for education, beaches, amusement, theme and water parks, children’s playgrounds and game rooms.—all media outlet
    • In an exclusive interview, a senior source in the Prime Minister Office said all internal lockdown will end on 1 July, should the second wave does not materialize. The source said, the repatriation missions are on the way towards completion, then Thailand can accommodate free flow of incoming foreigners currently stranded outside Thailand.—Thai Enquirer

Politics

  • Thai media reports on a Thai dissent who left Thailand and seek refuge in Cambodia after the military coup in 2014 was being kidnapped from his residence by an armed group. After the military coup by current PM Prayut, there have been almost 100 people left Thailand. Earlier there have been reports of Thai dissents who were critical to the monarchy killed, eviscerated, put a piece of concrete in and dumped down Mekong River.—Prachathai

Business:

  • The House of Representatives on Thursday kicked off a debate on a bill seeking to transfer some 88 billion Baht from the FY 2020 budgets of each ministry to a central fund to combat Covid-19 pandemic and rehabilitate the economy.  The first reading was approved with 264 votes while four MPs rejected it, 185 MPs abstained and one MP failed to vote.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1929508/covid-19-fund-bill-passes-first-reading
  • Inflation in May declined by 3.44 percent YoY due to low global energy price, fresh vegetables & fruits and the government’s effort to keep prices down to reduce people’s living costs.  May’s inflation saw the largest drop in 11 years and is also the third consecutive month of contraction. 
  • Prices fell 2.99 percent in April and 0.54 percent in March.  For the first five months of this year, headline inflation was -1.04 percent, while core inflation was 0.40 percent.  Inflation in June is likely to ease, but at a slower pace due to the lack of demands from inbound tourists.
  • Bank of Thailand affirms that the contraction in May’s inflation is not considered a deflatio’ since it is expected to rebound in 2021.  The European Central Bank defines deflation as having long-term negative inflation forecast of five years.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1929664/may-prices-down-3-4-led-by-oil-slump  http://www.tpso.moc.go.th/sites/default/files/3._press_th-05-2563_final1.pdf
  • Consumer sentiment picked up for the first time in 15 months in May, according to the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce.  Consumer confidence index rose to 48.2 in May from 24.2 in April, boosted by lockdown easing, government relief efforts and the economic stimulus program.   The first stage of lockdown easing is estimated to raise 2-3 billion Baht per day in circular flow, while the second stage will generate 6-8 billion per day.  Consumer spending normally averages 20 billion Baht per day, but during the lockdown 10 billion Baht per day is lost.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1929592/sentiment-shows-signs-of-recovery

Cash-Handout

  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives had given the 15,000 Baht financial assistance to 7 million farmers nationwide, worth 35.5 billion Baht.  Another group of farmers whose registrations with MoAC is still ongoing, will receive the payment on 15 August.  Source:  Thai Government fb page, 5 June
  • Finance Ministry had paid the 5,000 Baht cash-handout to 15 million recipients.  Next it will offer cash subsidy to an additional 9 million people who did not receive the handout.  They will be the last batch to receive assistance.  Of the 9 million prospective recipients:
  • 1.2 million are state welfare smartcard holders
  • 6.9 million are from vulnerable groups (the disabled, the elderly and infants)
  • 300,000 failed the registration for the 5,000-baht cash handout (unable to clear the identity authentication process); and
  • 66,000 are those denied compensation from Social Security Fund because they have made contributions for less than six months  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1929700/tat-readies-local-tourism-stimulus

Tourism

  • Proposals for Tiew Pun Sook domestic tourism stimulus packages are expected to be concluded next week as it needs Finance Ministry’s approval.
  • The hotel market in Bangkok was already losing steam in late 2019, prior to the pandemic outbreak.  Occupancy rate, average daily room rate and revenue per available room of 4 and 5-star properties in Bangkok had visibly declined YoY in the second half of 2019.  Without foreign visitors, average occupancy rate of Bangkok hotels is projected to decline by 30 – 40 percent YoY in 2020.   Demand in the Bangkok hotel market is expected to start recovering in Q4 of 2020, but a full recovery may take until late 2021.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1929784/bangkok-hotels-face-long-road-back
  • The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) is asking for the easing of restrictions on meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) to reignite the economy.  TCEB asks that different organisations be able to join the same meetings in hotels and the limitation on exhibition space of 20,000 square metres should be lifted.   TCEB estimates that the MICE industry in FY 2020 will generate 166 billion Baht; a decline of 70.4 percent YoY.   TCEB is also preparing to propose a stimulus package from the 400-billion-Baht budget allocated to national economic rehabilitation.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1929620/tceb-urges-loosening-of-restrictions-on-big-gatherings

Others

  • The Eastern Economic Corridor and at least 90 projects the government planned in the three eastern provinces would be key drivers for the property market.  Foreign direct investment from Chinese and Japanese investors and the government’s investment in mega-infrastructure projects in the EEC provinces, combined with returning foreign tourists when the country reopens should improve demand for properties.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1929600/tourism-fdi-to-revive-eec-property-view
  • The Ministry of Industry proposed offering cash subsidies to sugarcane farmers nationwide and will submit it to the Cabinet next Tuesday.  The 10.2 billion- Baht subsidy will help over 100,000 farmers prepare for the 2020-21 planting season.  The disbursement of the budget is divided into two parts: 6.5 billion Baht for sugarcane farmers who sell their cane to domestic sugar factories at 85 Baht per tonne; and the second part of 3.5 billion Baht to farmers who sell the whole sugarcane plant to factories at 92 Baht per tonne.  The rest of the 231 million Baht is earmarked for administration fee and interest.  Source:  https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30389037  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1929760/sugar-cane-aid-heads-to-cabinet
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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